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INDUSTRY 47A time for chAngeAeo chairman Stephen Brooks reflects on the key factors influencing change across the exhibition industry between his first and second stints at the associationaving chaired the AEO for three years in the 1990s and now, again, from September, it has provoked me to think about what's changed during the 15 years in between. In particular, what this means for UK-based event organisers now and in the future. For me, there are four main factors that have had the most impact.First of all, there has been a significant increase in the supply of venue space in the UK. Excel was built in London after a great deal of hard work, including much that was coordinated via the AEO. Without doubt, this space increase has changed the landscape completely. If there's one thing that reduces opportunities for show organisers, it is a limited supply of quality venue space and, consequently, it's a timely reminder that we should now do everything possible to protect this hard won position. Indeed, we should push for further improvements in the quality and capacity of UK venue stock.Secondly, we have seen the introduction of new event models. In the late 1990s we started to see new and different consumer events in particular and, bit by bit, we saw the scope of event organising broaden with a variation in approach to exhibition and event models. The development of consumer events was, of course, dependent upon the increase in venue space in Birmingham and London, to organising events globally and there are now a great many success stories in virtually every country.So what does all this mean for UK-based event organisers in the future? One thing is for sure: The only constant in life is change and the pace of change shows no sign of slowing. Next, we need to protect and extend the availability of good quality venue space. Finally, as is true in all walks of life, we should 'seize the moment'; enjoy and be passionate about everything we do because, looking back, time passes in a flash.For its part, the AEO continues to bring together UK organisers in collaborative activities to support and develop our collective interests, to maintain professional standards and to reflect the changing circumstances in which we work. Among the networking opportunities organised by the association, the AEO Excellence Awards stand out as the single most important industry event of the year, celebrating the dynamism, entrepreneurial spirit and achievement of excellence. Through all the change, the AEO brand continues to signify the quality, integrity and professionalism to which its members are committed. - Stephen Brooks is chairman of the AEO and CEO of Mack Brooks. HWe should push for further improvements in the quality and capacity of UK venue stockbut it was the entrepreneurial spirit, so deeply embedded in our industry, which brought about this diversification. Thirdly, our industry, in common with most others, was irreversibly changed by new communications technology. Most dramatically of all, the Internet and associated applications have had a huge impact on events. At first, fear spread that a new 'virtual world' could negate physical events. Indeed, driven by the boom in shareholder support for anything Internet, some organisers attempted a complete metamorphosis to become pure 'new media' companies. On reflection, the Internet has primarily supported the work of event organisers, providing new revenue streams and cheap, easy, multi-dimensional and instant means of communicating with event participants globally. For participants, new technology removes the downtime associated with events; attendees are constantly in touch via a range of portable devices. Finally, event organisers have gone global. With the inclusion of enormous new markets in Russia, China, Brazil and India into the main stream of world trade, the playing field for event organisers has grown tenfold. Globalisation means events are now more accessible than ever before to participants from every corner of the globe. UK organisers have shown themselves especially well-suited T: +44 (0) 20 8545 2492E: right people at the right time.. Security . Stewarding . Hosts/Hostesses . Porters . Front of House . H&S Officers . Floor Managers . Event Safety & Evacuation Planning . And More ...

48 of price or all-in-one packages, where certain parts of the product mix are thrown in for free, but quality can often be sacrifi ced compared to the smaller providers that tend to specialise in particular products. For example, Showplans aims to actually increase the income of organisers by incorporating dynamic sponsorship and revenue-generation models into their products or providing high-quality fl oorplans that increase sellable space signifi cantly compared to those provided by larger, one-stop-shop suppliers who throw in a quickly knocked together version as a free add-on to their more lucrative core services. Additionally, the cost of spending a little extra will be more than reciprocated thanks to the added long-term value brought in by a higher quality offering and more dedicated and individualised customer service a small outfi t can provide. This results in an improvement in the relationship with clients and subsequent retention rates. Things may seem rosy now, but perhaps in the longer term, organisers will see the detrimental effects of allowing larger suppliers to call the shots. - Adam Jones is MD of Showplans.The benefi ts to event organisers of using larger, more established service providers are clear: Lower prices, a well-known and reliable name and a one-stop shop for services. But are we shooting ourselves in the foot by ignoring the many smaller independent companies competing for patronage?As in all industries, intense competition between event service providers means smaller suppliers must be constantly at the cutting-edge of innovation just to survive. As a result, most of the pioneering developments are brought by them. However, if these smaller players are squeezed out of the market by larger companies offering lower prices or more economical packages with which they are unable to compete, the inventive solutions brought by small companies will cease to enter the arena, stifl ing innovation and damaging the industry. If this scenario occurs, we will be stuck with a stagnant level of service from a smaller number of suppliers year-on-year, and as well as the variety we now enjoy, those competitive prices we presently take for granted will quickly disappear as the big boys gain a choke hold on the market - a 'Tesco-isation' of the event industry, if you like.We may currently be getting a better overall deal from larger suppliers in READER RESPONSEYOUR SAYA plea to stop the big suppliers running the show and renewed efforts to drive sustainability across the events industry top the letters' listTHE DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH BATTLEONLINE SAY-SOBe professional in business, never childlike or reactionary. Remember: It's business.Sean RobertsReally interesting to see how other companies are developing their BS8901; EC&O Venues addressing impacts of travel for example.SmartAV hireKeep your key words on the RIGHT hand side of your display. People tend to look at booths right to left.Darcie KingObviously digital is key to extending visitor contact. How many organisers have increased revenues or have an R&D budget for online?Melissa OoiGosh, wouldn't it be enlightened of the events industry to recognise older workers for once with A lists.Mike Bell DesignerLoving the Natural and Organic Products Show. We're meeting loads of interesting people yesterday and today.Max von BergHad a lovely visit to the new facilities at The Norfolk Showground today - thanks for a great tour.Jill WatkinsonExcel London will soon be connected to the O2 by the Emirates Air-Line cable car. We look forward to the opening.Excel London2.5hrs till breakdown - is it too early to start whistling the Final Countdown? Emma DengateTwitter postsFollowing the fi rst cross-association sustainability working group, it is really encouraging to see growing industry awareness that BS8901/ISO20121 are, beneath the jargon, basically the same risk management framework as the more familiar ISO14001 and 9001 standards and the HSE's HSG65.Organisations are starting to realise they already have many processes in place that meet BS8901 criteria. To be compliant isn't as big a jump as many might think. Linked to this is the fact that using a single 'integrated' management system to control sustainability, safety, health and quality issues and impacts holistically, generally achieves deeper cultural change and performance improvement.ESSA, AEO and AEV members now have access to free guidance on these systems and I personally hope the approach will become industry standard.- Lee Holloway, TechIOSH MIOM, is technical adviser to ESSA/AEV/AEO.SUSTAINABILITY AWARENESS ON THE now on 01517 833 338 for great dealsCreate additional revenue streams with i-Mac internet cafe's Specialists in speaker preview rooms and speaker managementonsite IT equipment & support for organisers / IT & AV hire for exhibitionsGreat package deals for audio visual support for theatres and breakout rooms